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  • Grant Thomas 291 posts 324 karma points
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 12:42
    Grant Thomas

    How do you break down your Umbraco projects to time frames?

    Generally (hopefully!), when people develop projects they have a pretty well defined idea of what it is they're doing. Based on this forethought and resulting documentation, people have a solid idea of the undertaking. Workflows are often created to see a project through from conception to deployment, and this aids in direction, productivity etc...

    When you begin an Umbraco project, where do you start in terms of defining time frames? How do you break the project up to modularise it and document these divisions?

    For instance, on first thoughts, I see it starting something like this:

    • Project Setup (download, directory placement, solution creation)
    • Development Setup (configure solution, run and install, check-in)
    • Document Type Definitions (time spent creating all Document Types foreseen in spec)
    • Template Type Definitions (time spent creating all Templates foreseen in spec)
    • Script Development (time spent creating all Razor scripts* foreseen in spec)

    And so on. Obviously after this comes testing and deployment phases, but I'm interested in opinions, additions or changes etc. Any suggestions?

    Also, other than how you break it up, I'm interested in times usually taken for common Umbraco tasks when developing a website. For instance, we always need to create document types and hierarchys, templates and so on. This is potentially subjective, I know, as it relies on experiences where scale differs between projects, but I think there'll be enough developers with knowledge something along the lines of 'well, a site never usually has less than 7 document types with quite common properties that generally take so long to do.'

    *The ONLY kind worth creating!

  • Funka! 398 posts 660 karma points
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 20:39

    Hi there,

    Great question! We are always working ourselves to refine this answer and have come up with some very rough and basic estimates we use as guidelines when trying to scope a new project.

    First of all, we do not even consider starting the Umbraco portion until after (A) all design/comp work is created and approved by client, and then (B) we have our "build-out" (plain HTML, CSS, and Javascript widgets/sliders/navigation/etc) completed and a few sample pages created and working as static HTML files, making sure it works in all browsers and responds well on mobile devices, etc. We complete all of this before we even install Umbraco, and this goes through its own set of estimates and planning which can all depend on what the the client is looking for, how many different/unique layouts they want, any custom artwork or logos, etc. I see this subject in and of itself pretty widely discussed around the interwebs so a quick forum post here from me probably won't help with this part very much, nor do we have an easy guidelines for how to do this.

    However, once we have this aforementioned "subjective" aspect budgeted and completed, we find the more "objective" umbraco portion itself tends to be fairly consistent. For us, we've been using a general rule of thumb which is to take the "build-out" I mentioned earlier and turn it into a basic working umbraco site which takes us about 4 or 5 hours. This is just the basic templating and base/content document types, making sure things like the navigation and footers and sidebars all work as expected

    From there, we've been just saying approximately 3 hours per each custom "module". Client wants a video gallery? 3 hours. Client wants a news page? 3 hours. Client wants a contact form? 3 hours.  We find that this 3 hours per module isn't really so much time spent in umbraco defining doc types and razor scripts, as it is shared with us tweaking CSS and making it "look pretty". This really makes it quite easy for us to budget the umbraco portion of our projects, and we are playing the estimates since sometimes one module may only take us 1 hour, but another one might take 5.

    We also budget 2 hours for basic umbraco training with the client, plus a half-hour per each module. Simple revisions and QA and other quick questions from client usually is covered already by these previous estimates so we don't usually budget any extra time for this. (Major changes that are requested after initial comps were approved are a different story.)  Like I said, the hardest part in budgeting our projects is everything that happens before the Umbraco install, which I think is a pretty common challenge in the web industry regardless of which CMS you use.

    I hope my rambling here has maybe been helpful, or if not, at least to give you some food for thought. Best of luck in your projects!

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